Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 TBR Pile Challenge Sign-up Post

2014 TBR Pile Challenge Sign-up Post
When I first heard about this challenge, I thought, "Ok....So 10 books from my TBR pile. That doesn't sound too hard." Then I read the catch. The books have to have been on my TBR for more than a year.
http://roofbeamreader.com/2013/11/27/announcing-the-2014-tbr-pile-challenge/

I have no problems with reading regular fiction, whether contemporary, or dystopian, or even historical ficiton. So my personal goal with this challenge is to tackle the classics, otherwise known as those required reading books in Highschool that nobody wanted to read (not all of the books are like that and some of them I'm actually dying to read). There's also a few books thrown in there that there's been lots of hype about. What I also did was make a Goodreads shelf, so I can keep track.
1. Little Women: Louisa May Alcott- 1868
2. Anne of Green Gables: L. M. Montgomery- 1908
3. The Secret Garden: Frances Hodgson Burnett- 1911
4. The Book Theif:
5. Life of Pi:
6. The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank- 1947
7. Catherine, Called Birdy: Karen Cushman- 1994
8. The Midwife's Apprentice: Karen Cushman- 1995
9. To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee- 1960
10. Timeline:
Brave New World: Aldous Huxley- 1932
1984: George Orwell- 1948

Alternates:
1. Les Miserables: Victor Hugo- 1862
2. The Hiding Place: Corrie ten Boom- 1970
The Goal: To finally read 12 books from your “to be read” pile (within 12 months).
Specifics:
1. Each of these 12 books must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. This means the book cannot have a publication date of 1/1/2013 or later (any book published in the year 2012 or earlier qualifies, as long as it has been on your TBR pile – I WILL be checking publication dates). Caveat: Two (2) alternates are allowed, just in case one or two of the books end up in the “can’t get through” pile.
2. To be eligible, you must sign-up with Mr. Linky below – link to your list (so create it ahead of time!) and add updated links to each book’s review. Books must be read and must be reviewed (doesn’t have to be too fancy) in order to count as completed.
3. The link you post in the Mr. Linky below must be to your “master list” (see mine below). This is where you will keep track of your books completed, crossing them out and/or dating them as you go along, and updating the list with the links to each review (so there’s one easy, convenient way to find your list and all your reviews for the challenge). See THIS LINK for an idea of what I mean. Your complete and final list must be posted by January 15th, 2014.
4. Leave comments on this post as you go along, to update us on your status. Come back here if/when you complete this challenge and leave a comment indicating that you CONQUERED YOUR 2014 TBR LIST! Every person who successfully reads his/her 12 books and/or alternates (and who provides a working link to their list, which has links to the review locations) will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Amazon.com or The Book Depository!
5. Crossovers from other challenges are totally acceptable, as long as you have never read the book before and it was published before 2013!
*Note – You can read the books on your list in any order; they do not need to be read in the order you have them listed. As you complete a book – review it, and go back to your original list and turn that title into a link to the review - that will keep the comments section here from getting ridiculously cluttered. For an example of what I mean, Click Here.
Monthly Check-Ins: On the 15th of each month, I’m going to post a “TBR Pile Check-In.” This will allow participants to link-up their reviews from the past month and get some recognition for their progress. There will also be small mini-challenges and giveaways to go along with these posts (Such As: Read 6 books by the June Check-in and be entered to win a book of your choice!). I’m hoping this will help to keep us all on track and make the challenge a bit more engaging/interactive. I started these mini-challenges last year, and I think they were a great success, so I am continuing them this year!
Chat: On Twitter, Instagram & Facebook, use #TBRChallengeRBR

My 2014 TBR Pile Challenge List:
1. The Complete Poems by Walt Whitman (1892)

2014 Ebook Reading Challenge Sign-Up

2014 Ebook Reading Challenge Sign-Up
It's time of year again guys, the time of year when different challenges circulate through the Blogosphere, so be prepared for the barrage of Challenge sign-up posts because I'm entering almost 15 of them.

I am really looking forward to this challenge because I recently got an iPad for Christmas (thank you mom) and of course the first thing I did was download the kindle app so I can read eBooks from NetGalley and other sources.
http://workadayreads.com/2013/11/2014-ebook-reading-challenge-sign-up.html

Challenge Guidelines:

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2014 – Dec 31, 2014.
  2. Anyone can join, you don’t need to be a blogger. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).
  3. Any genre or length of book counts, as long as it is in ebook format.
  4. You can plan your books in advance or as you read them.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the E-Book Reading Challenge.
  6. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2014, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
Levels:
  1. Floppy disk – 5 ebooks
  2. CD – 10 ebooks
  3. DVD – 25 ebooks
  4. Memory stick – 50 ebooks
  5. Hard drive – 75 ebooks
  6. Server – 100 ebooks
  7. Human brain – 150 ebooks
At the beginning of each month there will be a roundup post for you to add your reviews for that month. The linky will remain open for the remainder of the year, so if you forget, feel free go back and add them when you remember.
I hope to reach the DVD level which means 25 or more eBooks, it's a pretty lofty goal, but I think I can accomplish it. I'm going to link all the books and reviews to them as I read them. Wish me luck :)

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.

2014 Chunkster Challenge Sign-Up

2014 Chunkster Challenge Sign-Up

We all have/had them, either as a dreaded highschool mandatory reading list, or even if you just want to read the classics that are interminably long. They are Chunksters, an adult of YA, non-fiction, or fiction book that is 450 pages of more. There aren't any levels for this challenge, but my goal is to read 10 Chunksters.

Rules for this challenge:
  • Audio books and e-books are now allowed. You want to listen to a chunkster on audio? Be my guest. 
  • Essay, short story, and poetry collections are allowed but they have to be read in their entirety to count.
  • Books may crossover with other challenges.
  • Anyone can join.
  • You don’t have to list your book ahead of time.
  • Graphic novels don’t count. Sorry guys but reading a chunkster graphic novel isn’t the same as reading a non-graphic chunkster
I’ve been thinking long and hard about the levels of participation that have always been a part of this challenge. This year we’re going to try something new: there won’t be any levels
Don’t get me wrong. This is still a reading challenge. Challenge yourself without being locked in to a certain number. If you didn’t read any chunksters in 2013 and want to change that in 2014, come up with a number and try to read that amount. 
I understand that chunksters can be a bit intimidating. My goal is to encourage as many people as possible to give chunksters a try. We all love short books because we can get through them in a sitting or a few days. It’s different with chunksters. With chunksters, you have to slow down and take your time. The Chunkster Challenge is all about having fun and reading good books. 
All I ask is that participants either write a post or leave a comment in the comments section letting the world know your goal. Mr. Linky is acting up so if you write a post, leave a link in the comment section.

2014 Standalone Reading Challenge Sign Ups

2014 Standalone Reading Challenge Sign Ups
I recently had a Discussion Thursday post called "Standalones Vs. Series" where I share my opinion on the matter. 

The Challenge

To read 15 Young Adult and Middle Grade standalone novels in 2014 released in the United States between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.

Eligible Books

-YA/MG standalone novels. This means that the book can not have an announced (sometimes sequels happen unexpectedly) sequel, prequel, follow up, etc.
-Companion novels count towards the challenge as well. Companion novels take place in the same world as a novel but usually follows the life of a different character. It can be read independently from the book that came before it.
-Released between January 1 – Decemeber 31, 2014 in the United States. If a book was previously released in another country but is being releasing in the US for the first time, it is eligible. At the same time, if you live in a country where it was previously released, but it is being released in the states for the first time – lucky you – it counts.
-Must be read in 2014
-Can be read in any (legally) readable format: ARC, Paperback, Hardcover or e-book. Audio books do not count toward the challenge.

The List

For a list of eligible challenge titles to get you started towards your goal, please visit this Goodreads List (please note, the list is not comprehensive or final). You are more than welcome to vote for standalones you feel will fit the list.

Participation Perks

There will be a prize pack given away each month to a random participant. You gain entries into that month’s prize pack by linking up your challenge-eligible reviews. There will also be giveaways on the hosts’ blogs to go along with special posts with authors. And of course, there are random giveaways that we may throw in here and there!

Get Your VIP Pass

Sign up with a link to where you will be posting your English reviews.
This can be a blog, Goodreads profile (an SARC 2014 list would be better), Shelfari profile, Librarything profile, or Youtube channel.


2014 Love Library Books Reading Challenge Sign-Up

Love Library Books Reading Challenge Sign-Up



I have said it before in my "Stacking the Shelves" posts, and I'll say it again, I'm poor. I don't have the money to go out buying books the same way I pick daisies (which is a really weird comparison since I never pick daisies or buy books). Anyway, the point is that over the years my library has been my savior. They have the most amazing YA section, which I check books out of on a weekly basis. This challenge isn't even like a challenge for me because I would be doing the requirements anyway. My goal for this challenge is to reach to "Just Insert IV" level which means 50 or more books, which will definitely be a piece of cake because 145 of the books I hope to read in 2014 will be library ones.

The Requirements:
  • choose a level - you may move up as needed, just not down.
  • check books out of the library
  • books may overlap with other challenges
  • any format allowed (print, ebook, audio)
  • reviews are not necessary but a list of books read is. (post with review linky is coming)
  • a blog is not necessary, just comment that you want to join in.
The Levels:
  • board book - 3
  • picture book - 6
  • early reader - 9
  • chapter book - 12
  • middle grades - 18
  • Young adult - 24
  • adult - 36
  • just insert IV - 50 


Dystopia Reading Challenge 2014

Dystopia Reading Challenge 2014 

http://blogoferised.blogspot.nl/2013/12/dystopia-reading-challenge-2014.html
In the past few years since books like the Hunger Games, or even back in 1948 when 1984 came out, people have loved dystopia books. I hopped on the trend in 2011 when I discovered the Hunger Games and have been going ever since. 

My goal is to reach Level 4 The Leader which means 19+ dystopian books, something I'm sure will be easy as pie for myself.
 
Rules
> The challenge will run from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. Each month will have its own link form so you will be able to share your book reviews. You do not have to review the books you read to participate, but only those who read/reviewed at least one dystopian book will be able to participate in the giveaway (you can track your reading without the reviews with Goodreads, Shelfari etc.).
> Books that count in this challenge must include any form of post-apocalyptic theme (book sites like Goodreads are good sources of genre information). The books must be full-length.
> All formats allowed.
> Rereads allowed (but not the same book five times in a year!).
> It does not matter whether it's a series or a stand-alone book.
> If you are participating, grab the challenge button from below and post it on you blog. You can also make a post with the header (the code is also below). Please include the link back to this post so others will be able to participate as well.
> If you will participate, put the sign-up link to your blog post (about the challenge) or blog (for the button) directly into the linky below. Sign-ups will be open until December 15, 2014.
> You do not have to list your books in advance, go and do as you please. Read as many as you want and whenever you want, as long as you have fun!
> Info about the giveaway will be available in December 2014.
> Do not cheat with books of other themes/genres/topics because I do check!
Levels
Level 1: Recruit (1 to 6 books)
Level 2: Rebel (7 to 12 books)
Level 3: Revolutionist (13 to 18 books)
Level 4: Leader (19+ books)
Each time you reach a new level, you will receive a badge.

Seriously Series Sign-Up Post

Seriously Series Sign-Up Post
http://paranormalbookreviews-kelly.blogspot.com/2013/11/2014-reading-challenge-seriously-series.html
How many of us readers have not finished a series they started? I certainly am, so this challenge is perfect for me and you can get there will be a hec of a lot series overviews for this challenge

My Goals for this Challenge are:
Series started before 2014: Seriously Serious 7-12 series
Series started in 2014: Seriously Serious 7-12 series
A series reread: Semi-Serious 1-6 series

Definitions

For this challenge, a series is defined as a collection of two or more books that belong together and where the second book is published before the end of 2014. This is a pretty broad definition of series, and it includes traditional series like the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, less traditional series like Stephanie Perkins's YA contemps (Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door), and shorter series, like Kendare Blake's Anna series (Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmares).

A series is considered complete in one of two ways: either as finishing all the books that you own in the series or as obtaining and reading all the books that have been published in the series to date. Because we don't want this challenge to become a financial burden, how you choose to define completion is left to your discretion.

How It Works

To allow for the greatest level of flexibility, we've separated series into three categories: series started before 2014, series started in 2014, and series rereads.

  • Series started before 2014 are defined as series that you have started reading before Jan. 2014 and that you still have unread books to get current in (or finish) the series.
  • Series started in 2014 are defined as any series that you start reading between Jan. and Dec. 2014, and the second book in the series must be published before December 2014.
  • A series reread is defined as books that are part of a series that were read before Jan. 2014 and that are reread between Jan. 2014 and Dec. 2014. A series reread does NOT have to include the full series.

For each category, there are different levels of seriousness about series that you can choose. Semi-serious is reading 1 to 6 series, seriously serious is reading 7 to 12 series, super seriously serious is reading 13 to 18 series, and seriously spectacular series star is reading more than 18 series. What this ends up looking like is this:


series started before 2014 series started in 2014 series rereads
Semi-Serious 1-6 series 1-6 1-6
Seriously Serious 7-12 7-12 7-12
Super Seriously Serious 13-18 13-18 13-18
Seriously Spectacular Series Star 18+ 18+ 18+
FYI, reading novellas and short stories from a series does count here -- if you want it to!

You choose which categories you want to attempt and which level to shoot for.

Goals and Progress

Want to sign up? Create a post or page about this challenge, what goals you would like to accomplish (mine is here, as an example--currently, it's my 2013 page, but it'll switch over to the 2014 challenge in January), and then link up your post here at Reading the Paranormal. In addition to the sign up, every three months, there will be a check-in, where you can report your progress and reassess your original goals. That schedule will look like the following:
  • April 1st: January--March
  • July 1st: April--June
  • October 1st: July--September
  • January 1st, 2015: October--December

Monday, December 30, 2013

Fever 1793: Laurie Halse Anderson

                                                     Rating: 7.75/8 4 stars
Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Release Date: January 1, 2000
Publisher: Aladdin
Page Count: 272

Goodreads Synopsis: It's late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse. But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn't get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family's coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie's concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family's small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie's struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fight-the fight to stay alive.

My Background: The only things I knew about Fever 1793 were from the blurb. There was a Fever in the year of 1793, and the story was about Matilda Cook's struggle and journey through the fever-ridden time *cliche*. The reason I picked up this book in the first place was that it was written by Laurie Halse Anderson. This was a very unusual book for me because I haven't picked up a historical fiction novel in ages, but I am very glad I did so. The average rating of the literary elements (plot, characters, writing style, pacing, ending) in this book is 7.1 which is why my rating was 7.75, despite of the overall average being 5 if that was what I was going by.
Plot 9/10: For this being the first historical fiction in a long time, it was a very good book to get me back into the groove. I loved the plot and what happened in it. I feel bad, but there isn't really more ways to say it than that

Romance 6/10: Frankly, there was almost no romance in this novel. Basically there was the amount of romance in a usual historical fiction one, then take away some of it because of the fever. The little moments there were were quite sweet between the 1793 version of a starving artist, and Mattie. 

Characters 6/10: My feelings about the main character Matilda Cook, are very mixed. I'm blaming everything on the book being historical fiction, but after everything I've been reading lately (dystopian and contemporary), having old-fashioned female characters, where they can't be strong and independent, is a bit of a character let-down. Mattie or Matilda, was a fine character, somewhat strong, and and attempts to be independent. I didn't feel a strong attraction to her, and I didn't dislike her *double negative alert* What made me slightly dislike Mattie was the fact that I didn't feel a connection to her. Her pain, her struggles, her loss, none of it seemed like it mattered to me, or that it was my own, like how I feel the connection between a reader and a character should be.   

What I did like love about Mattie was how much she grew and developed by the end of the story. Her losses made her stronger, and more independent (you can tell I don't own a thesaurus). She thought someone very dear to her had passed, so she took it upon herself to not let everything her family had worked for fall apart, and took the horse by the reins in running the Coffeehouse. She also matured a lot, and gave herself more responsibilities, making her horrible experience change herself for the better.

Cover 3/10: I highly disliked this cover, because it didn't have much symbolism or significant impact. I think if the cover could have been something abstract that would have represented the horror of the fever itself. All I can gauge that's symbolic to the cover is the yellow eye, and the yellow fever.

Title 8/10: My feelings about the title "Fever 1793" actually changed as I was writing this review. I highly disliked it, but then after mulling over it, I realized how powerful it was. Instead of saying "Mattie Cook's Struggle", or "The Fever that Swept the Nation", it was short and simple; Fever 1793. 

Pacing 8/10: One of the main praises for "Fever 1793" was from The New York Times Book Review that states
"The plot rages like the epidemic itself."
I don't think the plot was quite as fast as the epidemic, but what I did not feel was that there were any plot gaps, or lulls in the action and sequence of events, so overall the pace wasn't as fast as lightning, but it was very good and consistent.

Writing Style 7/10: This wasn't the Anderson I was used to in most of her books, but a different side, one I ended up enjoying. Mattie Cook's character, and thus her narration was something I had issues with, but the overall style choice words and bluntness was something I did enjoy.

Feels 4/10: The feels of this book weren't very good, as explained in 'Characters', my connection with Mattie wasn't strong or real enough. Everything that I feel I should have felt for and because Mattie didn't happen. The yellow fever was happening, killing hundreds of people including ones Mattie cared about, and I did feel bad that it happened in the past, but not for her.

Ending 8/10: The ending to this book in terms of storyline was executed perfectly. The entire story wrapped up, and although there were character losses, it was happy ending. There was also no real way for there to be a sequel as good as the first book.  

Quotes 3/10: To be honest, by now I have read a number of Laurie Halse Anderson books, but this one is the most un-quoteworthy one. I suppose that's because of the whole historical fiction aspect, but I feel like there should have been some gut-wrenching quotes about the disease or the character's losses. The two I ended up choosing were:
"Is your mama here? Or your papa? Perhaps they can fix it." The little girl whispered something. I stepped closer to hear her. "Mama's broken too." she said." 
"What did it feel like to die? Was it peaceful sleep? Some thought it was full of either trumpet-blowing angels, or angry devils. Perhaps I was already dead."

Conclusion: 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Last Minute Read-a-Thon: Wrap Up Post

Last Minute Read-a-Thon: Wrap Up Post


I want to send out my appreciation to Vonnie @ Vonnie's Reading Corner & Maria @ A Night's Dream of Book for this organizing this readathon because it was so much fun.

I sadly didn't reach my goal because I was so much more busy than I thought I would be when I wrote my lofty goal post. That means I might actually have a life...shocking.

What I did finish was:
Skin and Bones: Sherry Shahan
All Our Yesterdays: Cristin Terril
and this one was very unexpected because I was confirmed for the book tour~ Butterman (Time) Travel Inc: PK Hrezo  

Basically I set the goal way to high for this Readathon that only lasted 5 days, so I think finishing 3 books was actually pretty good on my part, despite not reaching my goal. 

I hope everyone has a safe, happy new year full of blogging, books, and of course reading. I love you so much and my blogging time in 2013 has been a blast and I can't wait to see what 2014 brings. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Last Minute Read-a-Thon: Remembering 2013

Last Minute Readathon: Remembering 2013

Dec. 29th- Remembering 2013: Answer the following...
1. Best Book of 2013
2. Worst Book of 2013
3. Favorite New Author
4. Book that surprised you
5. Book that disappointed you


*All of this information will probably be found in the "End of the Year Book Survey" so if it's repeated, I'm sorry, this is the challenge*

The best book of 2013 had to be Prodigy by Marie Lu. It exceeded all of my expectations and topped the near-perfect Legend. If you have any doubts check out Meeting Marvelous Marie Lu

The worst book of 2013 had to be The Kill Order by James Dashner because it very well almost killed me. I don't have a review anywhere, but three words: 15 days to read. The most painful 15 of my life.

I think we all know by now who my favorite author of 2013 is: Marie Lu. That's all I can say about it except for read this post: Meeting Marvelous Marie Lu and everything will be explained young children

The book that surprised me the most this year (different from survey) was Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. The answer is also in Best of 2013 for the Readiculous Reads End of Year Celebration
"My friend from school had lent it to me, and at first I was shocked at the blurb, but it had sounded so interesting that I read it and don't regret that choice. This book isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for a book dealing with "tough issues" from a teenage male's perspective this definitely is the one to read." 

The book that disappointed me in 2013 was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. All I can say was said in my Best of 2013 for the Readiculous Reads End of Year Celebration
"So I jumped on the bandawagon and read the book after everyone in my school was simply raving about it for weeks. Even though this book is on my list, my feelings are still very mixed (Joyce and Aurora don't kill me). I liked the book and everything, great storyline, but I was disssapointed. Hazel and Gus might be the cutest couple I've ever read about, and their love story is one of the  sweetest, but I still didn't love the book."

Last Minute Read-a-Thon: Love it or Hate it

Last Minute Read-a-Thon: Love it or Hate it

Dec. 28th- Love it or Hate it: Post up book covers that you love and hate explaining why.
I'm going to do what A Night's Dream of Books did, I'm not trying to copy her idea, but I loved it so much when I read her post.

What she did was compare two covers of the same book. 
 
Love it: I personally think this paints a perfect picture for the story. The sleeping figure of a girl on the wooden porch slats, with ivy streaming down from the ceiling. It sounds like a total cliche love story, but that was what I think fit the story, and in my mind it's visually beautiful. The girl could be sleeping, or crying, or even be dead, and all three of those would have fit the story. 

Hate it: A huge red heart in the middle of an ombre blue sky. How original *sarcastic expression and hand on hip*  I sort of understand the symbolism, how it is essentially a love story, then the sky because of the whole "The Sky is Everywhere" thing, but I think the designers could have been more original. I know that's just the certain cover, but I still think it could have been a lot better.

Love It: The sword with the eye is very symbolic and powerful for Graceling. There is also a set of eyes at the back of the book (not depicted) that seems creepy at first, but is a Gracelings identification in the Seven Kingdoms. The background is also pretty, and for the record, Graceling was first with the sword on the cover, not Defy by Sara B. Larson.

Hate It: The silhouette of girl with a sword, how original. The cover has nothing to do with being a Graceling, or the story itself besides the fact that it's a girl and she uses a sword.

Love It: The blue ombre cover, although plain and simple with nothing but a tree and a single red flower is very symbolic in my mind to the story. The lone flower that stayed, when the rest already fell down (Mia stayed when her family left). It sort of gave me the Mulan-ish vibe when her father shows her the smallest late bloom would have been the most beautiful.

Hate It: I'm actually sort of scared of this cover.
It's a picture.
Of a girl's face.
On the bottom of the page.
Looking up.
Ok....
That's basically all I see, no symbolism or meaning to the story whatsoever unless you're including the fact that looking up could be conceived as Mia looking up into heaven at her family.

Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read In 2013~ Dystopia Edition

Top Ten Books I Read In 2013~ Dystopia Edition. So this is my third out of fourth post for "Top __ of 2013" so I altered this to be dystopia addition and this was so hard to make because 2013 was the year of Dystopias for me. I'm only going to do this by series because you know Legend would be slots number one, two, and three. 

1. The Legend Trilogy: Marie Lu~ This is basically a given fact that everyone reading my blog needs to accept because it will be a set factor in all my posts.

2. The Unwind Quartet: Neal Shusterman~ I've only ben able to read two out of the four books because the third just came out, and the fourth isn't out yet. Unwind was what made me love Neal Shusterman and he is my second favorite dystopian author of 2013. 
 
3. Proxy Dystology: Alex London~ I just got wind of the news that Proxy is going to have it's sequel May 30, 2014 which I am so excited about. Proxy was one of the best dystopian books and had such a complex plot, and the fact that Syd was gay gave it a whole new level.

4. The Selection Trilogy: Kiera Cass~ I admit that I've only read the first book in the series, but I've heard so much raving about "The Elites", and then "The One" is coming out in May 2014. The concept is so much like the Hunger Games, but for love instead of death. 

5. Wither (just the first book): Lauren Destafano~ The second book in the series, "Fever" was a huge disappointment and a DNF. The first book however was so good and such a page-turner.
 
6. Partials Trilogy: Dan Wells~ I had thought this book would be a classic formula dystopian but it ended being so much more. All of the actual science of the virus interwoven with the battle against the Partials was so interesting.

7. The Lunar Chronicles Quartet: Marissa Meyer~ I read both Cinder and Scarlett and loved them, and there's been so much hype about people with ARCs of Cress. The way that Meyers twists in the futuristic versions of fairy tales in China and France no less make it very intriguing. 

8. The Pledge Trilogy: Kimberly Derting~ The entire series is out as of the Tuesday this post is supposed to go up on. I can't wait to read the Offering as Pledge was one of the earliest Dystopian books I had read. 

9. Uglies Quartet: Scott Westerfeld~ I feel bad for listing this when I've only read the first book, but it was still very interesting especially how they dulled the brain when making you pretty. In my opinion it's more like making them into barbie dolls, but nevertheless the concept and plot was very good.

10. Reboot Dystology: Amy Tintera~ I also recently found out that the sequel to Reboot, Rebel is coming out May 2014. I remember picking it up and reading it in the bookstore, dying to read it, the putting it on hold at the library. 



Readiculous Reads: Best 2013 Releases

Readiculous Reads the Best of 2013 Releases

December 28: Best 2013 Releases! This year had a lot of great releases so I’m going to be sharing some of my favourites! I think there were a lot of posts similar to this throughout the year so if you’re participating, consider it like a giant wrap-up post!

PS (Pre-Script instead of Post-Script).
"Top 10 of 2013" for the "End of the Year Read-a-Thon": Overall top 10~ already posted
"Top Ten Books I Read In 2013" from Top Ten Tuesday: Dystopian Novels~ 12/31
"End of the Year Book Survey" from: Top book per category~ this weekend

So as you can see this is the fourth event and I'm going to do my top 10 contemporary novels, and there will be repeats from previous posts.
 
1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock: Matthew Quick~ I've raved about this book in past "Top _" lists, and in passing posts because this truly was teh best contemporary novel I read in the year 2013. My friend from school had lent it to me, and at first I was shocked at the blurb, but it had sounded so interesting that I read it and don't regret that choice. This book isn't for everyone, but if you're looking for a book dealing with "tough issues" from a teenage male's perspective this definitely is the one to read. 

2. Where She Went: Gayle Forman~I have a series overview of "If I Stay" and "Where She Went" that explain all of my feelings. I love "Where She Went" so much mainly because of Adam's POV, and the romance between him and Mia, how they both suffered so much from the accident and their separate journeys of recovery that meld int one. *score for sounding like a publisher*


3. Speak: Laurie Halse Anderson~ My first review and post on "Loving the Language of Literacy" was of Speak, and it explains everything from the characters I liked, to where I discovered the book. Even though Melinda seemed whiny at times, the overall book and the way it was so beautifully written which is why I loved it so much.

4. Before I Fall: Lauren Oliver~ Ironically this was my second review and post on "Loving the Language of Literacy" (this is just a walk down memory lane). I explain all of my feelings about this extremely unusual book. I'm actually not even certain that this is a contemporary novel because of the fact Samantha relived the same day 7 times. Al of the other elements of this novel were completely realistic and contemporary as it was essentially a story about a teenage highschool screw-up. That sounds unappealing, but just read te ereview if you're interested in the book. 


5. Thirteen Reasons Why: Jay Asher~ There is a long, complicated, tnangled, messy story having to do with this book and my love of it, one I donn't want to delve into right now. Basically although unrealistic, Thirteen Reasons Why was one of the best books I've read in my entire life because of the somewhat strange plot, and solid characters.

6. Identical: Ellen Hopkins~ There is quite a confusing story having to do with this book because when I borrowed it from the libarary, I wasn't aware that it was written in poetry. I thought maybe the first two pages were writen in verse, and the rest was solid book, but boy wa I wrong. This was actually one of the best book mix-ups I've ever had because it let me discover the wonderfully talented Ellen Hopkins.


7. The Fault in Our Stars: John Green~ So I jumped on the badawagon and read the book after everyone in my school was simply raving about it for weeks. Even though this book is on my list, my feelings are still very mixed (Joyce and Aurora don't kill me). I liked the book and everything, great storyline, but I was disssapointed. Hazel and Gus might be the cutest couple I've ever read about, and their love story is one of the  sweetest, but I still didn't love the book.

8. Burned: Ellen Hopkins~ Tis book gave me some insight (correct me if I'm wrong because some Goodreads review people got really upset at some other people's reviews) on what it is to be a Mormon. I know probably some of the information was altered, and maybe changed entirely, but thevery idea of it was interesting. I hope any Mormon isn't affended by this, but their hush hush society portrayed in "Burned" was very different in my mind. It was quite a thought-provoking read 


9. If I Stay: Gayle Forman~ I'm not going to go on and on about this book because there's already a series overview on it, and lots of my opinions are expressed in #2 Where She Went. What I would like to say about this novel is: Is this a contemporary book? Where She Went certainly was with Adam and Mia's love story, but in this story it's about Mia after the accident when she's floating above her body, trying to decide if she should stay on earth. Nevertheless it was very good and a refreshing read. 

10. Just One Day: Gayle Forman~ My third Gayle Forman book! I really enjjoye this...on the romance category rating. lI find it very hard to compare a romance novel, to a post-apocalyptic one. The end of the world, versus being lost in Paris. I don't need to ask which is more problamatic. This was also my first romance in a long time after a period of reading strict dystopias. Anyway this was a good book and a series overview is coming soon to a computer near you. 









 

Champion: Marie Lu

Archived Goodreads Reviews~ Champion: Marie Lu

*Hi, so if you're wondering why the format is different for this review, it's because it's from my Goodreads account before I got a blog, so I don't have a fancy format or anything, just me and my opinion. If you've never been on this blog before, then maybe you will like the review regardless*

*I never have spoilers usually, but this review does, but I warn you ahead of time*

Rating: 10/10 5 stars
Series: Legend Trilogy #3
Genre: Young ADult, Dystopian, Romance
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Recommended for: Fans of Hunger Games and Divergent
Page Numbers: 386

Goodreads Synopsis:

Original Archived Review with paragraphs:
I am extremely careful about what I give 5 stars, but Champion is a must (as well as the entire trilogy). I don’t even know where to begin. I have waited for 11 freaking months for Champion, and I have to say it’s not a letdown whatsoever. Believe me, I was reading every single review on the internet, from Publishers Weekly, to USA Today. If you want to know about the entire trilogy, I am posting Legend, Prodigy, and the overall series’ review soon, it will give you background on my obsession. 

*Warning: this will be unusually long because of my obsession with the story* *There are spoilers in here, but I have this review split in two, the spoilers are at the end and the general review in the beginning*
To describe Champion in my own words is this: “On top of the complex plot line and action, you have this underlying romance that fuels so many decisions throughout the book.”

You may be steered away from Champion because it is mostly a war book, like “Mockingjay”. “The Hunger Games”, and “Catching Fire” were good, by ‘Mockingjay” was a total flop. It is not like that with Champion. The Legend Trilogy is a series that deals mostly with the military, the Hunger Games doesn’t. You fight to stay alive in the ‘Hunger Games”, you fight as a way of life in Legend. June is a soldier, if you’re anyone in the Republic, you’re part of the military or a politician. A war has always been going on in all three of the books, it is only in Champion that we are focused on the details. This isn’t a story about the rebels rising up against the cruel oppressive government. This is a story about the rebels and the government rising up against their common enemy. 


The character’s conflicts are completely believable, as well as the amount of them. Picture the two halves of what used to be America fighting against each other, and already you have a lot of conflict. Each character has their own against themselves, the people they care about, and the rest of the world. For example, Day is dying (himself) and hsa to deal with getting weaker as well as the excruciating headaches, he is worried about Eden being used as lab rat (a person he cares about), he doesn’t want June to find about his oncoming death (a person he cares about), he loves June so much but doesn’t want to hurt her or compete with the boy king Anden (a person he cares about), and then there’s the fact that the Republic he recently pulled together is going to fall apart and may never get back together again if the Colonies win (the world). Those are just a few examples of one character’s struggle. 


Over the course of 2 years since Legend came out, Marie Lu's writing has definitely improved. Her plot lines became more complex, her characters more assured, and the connections between characters, something you have to be good at has drastically improved.

There is also humor in Champion that was hardly present in the previous books:
“What is this?” “A butter knife.” “This is not a knife.” This was a pre-released quote, and I had no idea what it was about, but when you read the book it is freaking hilarious. 

“Where I come from, a knife like this’ll skewer food, smear butter, and slit throats all at the same time.” Take that Serge.
“With your metal leg and half a brain, and my four leftover sense, we almost make a whole person.” Eden is so sarcastic it hurts.
Commander Jameson calls June “Little Iparis” if that isn’t funny I don’t know what is. Metias is “Big Iparis’ and she’s “Little Iparis”

I do have a few complaints. Marie Lu needs to improve on her area of similes, but not figurative language. She still uses, 'runs like the wind' and a few other cliche ones, nevertheless, she is able to sculpt a beautiful picture of the scenery, a person, or whatever she needs to when it's a section alone of description. In passing, for example in action scenes, she might be trying to describe Day's speed, or in a conversations with June's expression.
The nice little reference back to previous books, was a little overdone in Thomas's prison cell, although it was probably for nostalgia's sake, and because of former memories. There were three references on one page. 1. "Day is the legend," 2. "I followed all the rules, I worked my way up..." 3. "Because Day chose to walk in the light. And so did Metias." They were cleverly woven in, but the space between them is too short.
The only words to describe Champion’s ending are: ‘satisfying’, and ‘closure-giving’. It is a complete plot twist I wouldn’t have guessed if it was right in front of me. I wanted so badly to be angry at Marie Lu, want to find her house and stand outside with flaming pitchforks, but I didn’t. It’s not happy, it’s not sad, but it’s good. She has mastered the art of tying up each character's individual strings, then taking a step back and leaving them to go on in their own world. I’m not in love with the ending, but I love it.
*spoiler alert: most of this is just characteristics but some is actually what happens to the particular character*
The characters mostly focused on in Champion are June, Day, Anden, Commander Jameson, Thomas, and Tess. Each one of them has a closure-giving, conclusion to their personal storyline.
have been in love with June since the moment I met her in Legend. Even her negative qualities pale in comparison to who she is as character. She goes through such believable character development through the series, and with her narration, you get to see exactly how she thinks. A few words to describe her are determined, passionate, persistent, intelligent, athletic, dedicated, strong, and a concrete sense of right and wrong. Her sense of right and wrong is what fuels the story, it’s the hard decisions she makes that define the story and steer it in the path it has now carved into the world. Her sense of right and wrong also applies to her emotions, and she discovers it’s wrong for her to be Princeps. And chooses what is right for herself, being a soldier, fighting on the front lines, relying on instinct, all of that is who she is.

Day is Day. What I interpreted in Champion alone is his incredible ability to be selfless and selfish at the same time. He’s selfless in his personal actions. Yet he’s selfish for keeping his illness from June, and not letting Eden make his own decision to help the Republic, Of course others will definitely think differently, but this is just what I picked up. Day’s character growth isn’t nearly as great as June’s but it does happen because of the endless obstacles continuously pummeling him.
Anden has an internal conflict during the entirety of Champion as to how to lead the war, and make the painful decisions war implies, while still remaining true to himself and not becoming the hated man his father was. He has impeccable grace and poise of diplomacy that serves as a shield between his emotions and the world’s conflicts. He is the Elector, the one with the final say, and his ending is not so much a conclusion than an endless fact, which is that he is the Elector.
Commander Jameson does horrible things, and so in turn, gets gunned down by Republic soldiers. As the ‘good guys’ we see her as atrocious and inhumane. In a moment of what seems to June as weakness, she tells June that she sees herself in June. That they are both cold, hard, calculating, and ruthless, that June could have become her. What hits June so hard, even though she wants to deny it, is that it’s true, that she could become her.
It seems so fitting that the beginning of Thomas’s story is making a hard decision for the Republic, by murdering his childhood friend because the state of California told him to. His story ends when he serves as a distraction to Colony soldiers to help Day and the Patriots get away. His last words are: Long live the Elector. Long live the Republic. You feel compassion for him for doing such a terrible deed because of his sense of duty that drives him and fuels him to do anything.
The last person focused on in Tess. She has a rather sweet moment with Day, where she expresses the reasons for her jealousy toward him. That she loved him as more than a crush, but as a lover, parent, friend, caretaker, sibling, and much more. She loved him because she could take care of him while he took care of her. He was her world for three solid years, so when June came in, she felt threatened. Tess is infected with the mutant plague, but her story ends well.
*Spoiler alert on the romance only*

Onto what I would call the most exciting part of the review if I was reading it. The love square. There’s June, Day, Anden, and Tess. June’s decision between Anden and Day isn’t really a decision, in a good way. June’s decision to not be Princeps goes hand in hand with her decision not to choose Anden. She sees her reasons for not being a politician because of what the pressure does to Anden. Seeing what it does to Anden, defines why she doesn’t choose him. Day and June have this unique chemistry as a couple that Anden can’t compete with. It’s obvious Anden is attracted to June and wanted her as his Princeps. They even date for about four years in the epilogue, but the plain fact is that June cannot love him the way she loves Day. June and Day do the deed from pages 212-215 and she says she loves him. Meanwhile Day says he loves Tess…. except not in the way she wished he did. So there’s nothing too juicy between them.
Having Day forget June is so painful yet so perfect. When they meet 10 years later everything is possible again. It’s like what Day says, “Each day means a new 24 hours. Each day means everything is possible again.” They didn’t just get a new day. They got a new chance.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Last Minute Read-a-Thon: Rainbow Book Spine

Last Minute Read-a-Thon: Rainbow Book Spine

Dec. 27th- Rainbow Book Spine....grab books from your shelf that have the following spine colors to make a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, & violet.


Red~ Inkheart: Cornelia Funke
Orange~ Sabotaged: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Yellow~ The Red Pyramid: Rick Riordan
Green~ The Maze Runner: James Dashner
Blue: The SOn of Neptune: Rick Riordan
Violet~ The Subtle Knife: Phillip Pullman

I hope you enjoyed my rainbow :)



Thursday, December 26, 2013

ARC Review~ Defy (Defy #1): Sara B. Larson

ARC Review of Defy by Sara B. Larson
Rating: 8.25 4stars
Series: Defy #1
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Expected Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Recommended For: fans of Graceling and Legend
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page Count: appx. 336 (according to Goodreads)
Format: E-ARC

Goodreads Synopsis: A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

*I recieved an ARC copy from Netgalley, but this does not in any way affect my honest review of my own individual opinion*

My Background: I first learned about this book from Fiction_TheNewReality when she did an ARC review. This was also my first ever e-ARC from Netgalley that I got because of how interesting the plot sounded. Everything I knew about this book was from the Fiction_TheNewReality's review and the Goodreads synopsis, so I dove into the book and read.

Plot 9/10: I personally loved the plot of the book very much because of the total kick-ass female character Alex(a) Hollens. 

I did have some problems with the book. It seemed like it took about 5 different plot lines, and elements that were thrown into a Nutri-Bullet and blended together. There were all the Graceling elements with the female character having something to hide, and being the best fighter, along with all of the magic. There were elements from Legend by Marie Lu in that *spoiler alert for the first 35%* her brother "Marcel" died (sounds a lot like Metias doesn't it?), then snooty Prince Damain seemed to be exactly like Anden. Ofcourse there were all the themes from Mulan when it came to a girl being dressed up as a man, which is not a critism, but merely a point.

Characters 9/10: So my feelings about the characters are that I love the characters as characters, but I didn't always like the way they were portrayed and my connection with them. I was also a little confused with the number of guards for Prince Damian because of all the random names that didn't really have faces or characteristics to go with them. Anyway the three main characteres were Alex(a) Hollens, Prince Damian, and Rylan. Alex(a) Hollens is the main character of the book that has been pretending to be a man in Prince Damian's guard for the past three years. Prince Damian is the spoiled, lazy brat of a prince that seems to be oblivious to the world around him. Rylan is Alex(a)'s best friend (aside from her brother) and part of the Prince's personal guard.

My favorite character surprise surprise is Alex(a) because strong female leads are just so irresistable. 

What I felt throughout the entire book was disconnected from the characters. Their pain, struggle, and sacrifice wasn't portrayed well enough in this story. I also felt that even though Alex(a) was the main character, I didn't feel like the focus was on her as much, which is surprising since the book is written in first-person. 

As @Crystalbookland said on twitter: I feel more interested in Damain & what's going on with him than Alex(a) right now

Romance 5/10: I honestly think this book would have been better without the love triangle, or maybe with just one guy instead of the two. I remember reading Doughnut&Co's Review and she expressed my feelings perfectly.
"What I, however, absolutely detested about this book is that it felt the need to have a love triangle. It didnt need a love triangle."
Don't people remember in the early 2000s when it was cool for a girl to only have one person she loved? Instead of two or more to make things more complicated. There was also the oh-so-cliche outcome to the love triangle. I personally have problems shipping people because I want them to have three-way relationships because I can't choose who I like better. One of Alex(a)'s two suitors was surprising to me, and I didn't know why I hadn't figured it out before. I also think that it was a little too sudden. From about 48%-52% of the book they've proclaimed their undying love for her, and she's kissed both of the. She also has been working with/alongside the two men for more than three years, and all of a sudden she's just noticing their swoony chest muscles, and the color of their eyes? 

Cover 5/10: I honestly didn't really like the cover because it reminded me way too much of Graceling's by Kristin Cashore. The swords in the middle of the page looked to similar. This is personal preference, but I did not like the color scheme of Defy. The ombre green as a background with the title in bright red. I did however like the hilt of the sword (it could be a dagger, I have no idea what the designer was going for) with the rose on it. To me, it was sort of like an inside joke with the reader that she was a girl. The small touch of a female characteristic in a book that's characters are 95% male.

Title 4/10: If Sara B. Larson read this review, she would probably kill me because of how much I didn't like the outward appearance of her book. I just didn't understand why it was called "Defy". That kind of title would work better for the last book in a cliche dystopian trilogy where the people rebel against the totalitarianistic (is that a word?) government. I sort of understand where she was coming from (trying not to spoil the book) because of the defiance displayed by Damian, and the fact that Alex(a) was defying the usual groove of society by being a soldier in the midst of a society where they don't let girls be warriors, but besides that I don't understand it.
Feels 5/10: I really didn't feel any feels for this book unless they pertained to the romance. Sure there were occurrences that surprised me, but nothing that out of the water. I was in fact torn between the two guys, and the moments between them were what made me get the feels. The physical appearances of both of them were so good, and although different, both of their characteristics were very valiant, and well-meant. 

Writing Style 8/10:  What I enjoyed about Larson's writing was Alex(a)'s voice. She really reminded me of June Iparis from Legend, in that her sense of duty, honor, and what's right and wrong is really strong which is excently portrayed in her thoughts and opinions.

Pacing 8/10: My one complaint is about the chapters. It felt a little James Dashner-like because the chapters were short bursts of action/thrill/suspense, then they stopped. Another concern of mine is that the last sentence of a chapter didn't connect with the first sentence of the next. Not in the sense that they weren't about the same subject, but that that there were mini plot gaps where one moment the characters are doing this, and the next they're doing a completely different thing. There were also formatting issues on my kindle version. Besides those chapter issues, the book was really well paced. There was enough action at the right times, and all the events were in order and spanned the right amount of time. 

Ending 9.5/10: The ending was one of the best I have read in a long time because of the way it left you completely satisfied, and full of closure. I was a bit sad at how the romance ended, but I won't say anymore about that. 
Quotes 4/10: I am a bit dissapointed at the lack of un-quoteworthy quotes in this book. These are the two quotes I put for my reading log since I couldn't think of anything else.
"All of it, all of my love and pain and anger surged up and filled me with fury-with purpose-with power. I felt it building in my chest, and I attacked." 79%. Alex(a)'s narration.
"True beauty is what lies inside of us, not what the world sees. A beautiful shell that houses a vile soul becomes sullied over time. But an outer shell, imperfect as it may be, that houses a beautiful soul shines with that beauty, radiating it for all who have eyes to see." 96%. Lisbet. this is actually a cliche idea in most inspirational book, but the way Larson states it is what attracted me to the quote. A vile soul being sullied has a nice ring to it. 
Continuation: 90% Yes, I will read the sequel although I do think this would have been a good standalone novel. Their story could be finished as far as I know. On Sara B. Larson's Goodreads profile, it said the next book will come out in 2015, so I will read it because I want to know what happens, but definitely think this could have been it as a story. 

Conclusion: Even though there were some elements of  "Defy" I didn't like, I would definitely 100% recommend that people should read Sara B. Larson's debut novel.

Blogger Note: When I read this review back to myself it sounded as if I gave it two stars instead of four. I sincerely enjoyed this book and thought it was awesome, and kept me at the edge-of-my-seat *cliche *. It just felt like to me that the small quirks, although small and infrequent, stood out to me especially making them bigger than one would think they would be. 


 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...